Travel is the greatest form of education

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Travel is the greatest form of education

Travel is more than just an all-inclusive hotel

We discussed it last week with bank employees I teach.

They agreed, that it’s a great form but not necessarily the greatest.

You know when you book that holiday with the family at the 4-star resort? Everything is taken care of and you just show up with your bag and off you go.  It’s so easy isn’t it? But that’s exactly what we want. We like it easy, we don’t want to put in any effort than is necessary, why should we, when an agency will organize it door to door for you?

But what happens when you come back? What memories do you have? Did you discover or learn something new? Probably not.  You most likely just ate from the buffet every day and didn’t even try a single local dish, or speak to a local of any kind for that matter. Clearly, there is no education there.

Interact and embrace the experience

That’s because in order for travel to be educational you have to actually do it.  You have to travel, yourself. Get into your car or head to the coach terminal and go. Plan your route, talk to locals,  arrange accommodation and excursions, ask questions, take some risks, take the wrong road, get stranded and ask for help, go hungry, talk to strangers and sleep in uncomfortable quarters.  That’s when you walk away educated, experienced, ready, for the next lesson.

But that is hard, uncomfortable and risky.  Most people don’t like risky.  They like it safe, and easy.

If that’s our approach to travel, then it shouldn’t be any surprise we follow a similar approach with education in school.  It’s hard to change, risky to try a new approach, for some, it might scare them out of their boots!

If we made a different decision, than the ordinary textbook one, a change would occur.  Whether it be traveling on our own than through an agency, or not assigning a memorization task for homework, or asking students to collaborate, or asking students to work on something they think is relevant not what a textbook necessarily says.

If you are a teacher you have a choice, every day, with each class, to break with convention. It’s up to you. Here’s a lesson idea you can do with your students to encourage the discussion.

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect” – Mark Twain

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